A long-time client asked me to call him this week to talk about social media marketing. It’s a service I offer that he’s interested in, but doesn’t know very much about. It was one of those, “I know I need to be doing this, but what’s it all about and how can it benefit my business” conversations.
So, I called.
I realized very early on in the conversation that what he really wanted was to simply outsource his social media marketing needs and be done with it. But, I told him, “Social media marketing doesn’t work that way.”
Social Media Marketing: Sell the Service, or Not?
Just as a little background, my firm offers to set up and monitor three social media sites: Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. As anyone who’s familiar with these sites know, they are not static entities. You have to interact (ie, be social) on them to make them effective. And, this is the point I tried to make clear to this client.
So why am I telling you all of this? The point I want to here is that there are some clients who will want a service that you offer. BUT, you shouldn’t sell it to them because it will cost you in the long run. How? Read on.
Freelance Writers: How to Decide When to Just Say No to a Persistent Client
This client says that he will be ordering this service soon. But, I’m not going to sell it to him (I’ll cross that bridge if/when we get to it) simply because I know that a couple of things will happen:
It won’t be effective for him: While my firm can set up the accounts and lightly monitor them, social media marketing is something that requires a full-time, long-term effort to be effective. He can’t afford to pay my company enough to give him this type of interactive, ongoing service. Either he’s going to have to do the bulk of the work himself, or it’s not going to garner the results he wants.
I will lose money in the long run: No matter how hard I tried to make this client see that his participation was necessary, he kept going back to, “But yeah, if I could just get you to yadda, yadda, yaddda, then that should be enough, right?”
Wrong! He’s going to always want more than he can afford to pay for in this area, so long-term, he would drain my number one resource (time). And that will never do.
Freelance Writers: How to Immediately Make More Money
Freelance writers, bloggers, internet marketers – whatever your freelance profession – remember this, some clients cost you money in the long run. There are some services you can provide for them that work out just fine. For example, I’ve been writing SEO articles and blog posts for this client for over a year. But, he’s the type of client who requires a lot of hand holding. And, this I can’t afford.
The quickest way to give yourself a raise in certain instances is to cut a client loose. This will lower your stress and frustration levels, and free you to concentrate on more lucrative clients.
Freelance Writers: How to Effectively Tell a Client No
Prime Example: A new client I landed just this week hired me to do some blog posts for him – five days a week – indefinitely. He wanted abstracts of the posts before I wrote the full ones so he could “approve” them.
I immediately told him that no, we don’t work this way because blog posts are only 250-350 words and there is no “editorial collaboration” on them. I went on to explain that it’s a “time thing (eg, time is money)” His response? “I agree with you … I won’t be asking for abstracts in future.”
My respone to him, “I can tell my firm is going to enjoy working with you, as you understand the value of time.” This is the type of client you want.
FYI, as a compromise, I did provide him with two complete blog posts so he could judge how we write on his particular niche. He was satisfied and now we’re on our second set of weekly posts for him.
Many freelance writers (and bloggers, web designers, etc.) have a hard time standing up for themselves like this because they’re afraid of losing a client. But if you don’t learn how to do it, you will find yourself working for close to minimum wage because some clients will just suck you dry in the time department.
This is your business – your livelihood. And time is your number one resource. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will? And, if you want to work for minimum wage, well, McDonalds is always hiring – and you don’t bring your job home with you, so to speak.
Okay, I’m off my soapbox. Freelance writing client lesson over.